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May 2014 in Review – A Depressing, Character-Building Month of Perseverance

May was the worst month I’ve had in a long time. 

I was down in the dumps nearly the entire month. My energy was low, enthusiasm was low, and drive was very low. My attitude was primarily negative, full of complaints and anger. And I accomplished much less than I had set out to do.

May was a downer

I’m not entirely sure what caused my depression through May, but a few factors certainly influenced it:

  1. May 5-6 was a Monday, Tuesday holiday where we went out to the countryside for a few days to my wife’s hometown. It broke my routine.
  2. The next week, this site went down for about 24 hours, support staff didn’t reply to me as quickly as I wanted, and in trying to fix things myself, I broke them more.
  3. I enabled CloudFlare on this site – which initially took it offline for 4 hours while they cached the site. And I’ve experienced many 502 errors that have kept me from working – though it’s been better in recent days.
  4. I was unable to catch up or keep up with the Grammar I’d promised myself I would post here.
  5. I’m just plain getting tired of the monotony of the same old schedule, the same old classes, and the same old students.
  6. One class in particular really bugs me as the students play smartphone games while I lecture – and no matter how much I tell them “Put it down! You’re getting a C!” they still pick them right back up and continue.
  7. It’s finally become crystal clear that I’m being paid less hourly for my overtime work this semester than I was last year. After 3 months of decreased overtime pay, I finally grudgingly accepted it. (I did ask about it, but wasn’t given a clear answer – the boss said he’d follow up with me but still hasn’t.)

Without a doubt, a little negativity toward the beginning of the month snowballed into a flood of depression throughout the month. I was also unable to write a single Motivational post this month. Those usually help me keep my head up because as I write, I’m really just coaching myself.

But June is looking up

But things weren’t totally terrible because I kept up with most of my new Habits, and did do SOME good things. Additionally, things for June are looking up for a variety of reasons now:

  1. Thanks to something I heard in Zig Ziglar’s How To Be a Winner, I’ve “set a time limit on how long to be down.” I’ve decided to refocus my energies and attitude beginning today – June 1.
  2. I was able to get into a KIIP online class to study Korean further. Originally, I was in a 6-8pm daily class – but my wife didn’t approve since that is the time I need to play with my kids. I tried to get into a 2-4pm class which would’ve been better for the family, but conflicted with teaching summer camps (I would’ve had to quit mid-class). But I finally was able to switch to a 4-6pm class which seems like the perfect compromise. I should be able to PASS this class.
  3. The 35th TOPIK registration opens June 9, the same day as the class.
  4. I’ve decided to do an initial “soft launch” of my ebook in order to work out the kinks, get feedback, improve it, and create the supplementary materials for the “hard launch” coming in July. I’ll “soft launch” it on June 9 as originally planned.
  5. We have a 5-day school holiday coming up in the first week of school this month. Plus the next week is review week and the week after that is final test week.
  6. There is a blogger’s dinner I’ve been invited to on the last day of final tests up in Seoul that I’m hoping to go to.
  7. I have some contacts at the Korea Herald and Groove magazine and am hoping to be able to start writing for both of them.

I had been hoping that May would be my “Hustle” month, but it really turned into my “Persevere” month. It was all I could do just to keep on keeping on.

But with renew(ing) energy, here’s hoping that June will be full of “Hustle.”

May’s Monthly Goals Successes and Failings

Last month, I wrote out some new goals for May. These are shown below. I’ve crossed out the areas I didn’t do anything in, but as you can see, I still made a little progress, which is good.

NEW Habit Goals for May (made in April):
  1. Reading: TTMIK’s Iyagi Tuesdays and Thursdays between classes
  2. Vocab: before this, I need to get organized. Looking into David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology and planning now. (Uploaded all our vocab to Quizlet and started working through those.)
  3. Grammar: Daily blog posts + sentences
  4. Speaking: Call my wife from work – in Korean (a few times)
  5. Listening: Mondays – Textbook audio, Wednesdays – TTMIK podcast, Fridays – TOPIK audio
  6. eBook: Get up Landing Page and start building a mailing list. Finalize typesetting of all 40 chapters (though not editing). (The process is begun, though my perfectionist mindset has kept me from “finishing” yet. I will set a date to complete it today.)
  7. Podcast: Make a plan, simple script, find audio intro, make a recording schedule for June

This month, I spent the majority of my time working on the cover illustration for the ebook in Photoshop. I’d better set myself a deadline for completion of that as well.

Yearly Goals Successes and Failings

Below: GREEN = new or improved, RED = worse or less, BLUE = more or less the same as previously

#1 Bodyweight Exercise:

  1. Pullups: 509 reps (625 in April)
  2. Pushups: 985 reps (1255 in April)
  3. Squats: 800 reps (1,410 in April)
  4. Ab work: 900 reps (510 in April)
  5. Biking: 304km (272km in April)

Weight this morning: 82.4kg (84.6kg on March 31).

#2 eBook:

  1. Typesetting: up to chapter 23
  2. Editing: up to chapter 15
  3. Artwork: Photoshop in progress (60%)
  4. Landing Page and mailing list: begun (60%)

Virtually nothing further completed on the ebook itself, though some other pieces got some work done on them.

#3 Korean:

  1. Grammar: 14 blog posts (17 in April)
  2. TTMIK Iyagi: 2 articles (2 in April)
  3. 한국어 Diary: 13 entries @ ~8,680 characters + 10 TOPIK prompts (11 entries @ 4,100+ characters in March)
  4. Speaking: <10 times – but also on the phone 3-4 times

My writing is improving – especially my speed. But this next month, I want to get some coaching (from my wife) about content and organization as well.

#4 Money:


  1. Transferred: $3,203 ($997 in May)
  2. Paid: $3,532 ($990 in May)
  3. Total (#3): $7,156 (from the initial $12,000)

Income from Key To Korean related endeavors:

  1. Donations: $15 (first ever donation received May 8 – if you would like to donate something, you can find the PayPal form in the right sidebar ->)
  2. Skype students: $180
  3. Offline students: $360

It’s important for me to be able to keep track of our finances like this in order to motivate me to work harder to accomplish our goals faster and persevere when times are tough. This month, I (unfortunately) was unable to send home any additional money from my salary.

Additional Habits and Goals

Personal Development:

  1. Podcasts: 9.6hrs (9.6hrs in April)
  2. Audiobooks: 20.5 hours (8 hours in April)
    1. Getting Things Done (David Allen)
    2. How To Be a Winner (Zig Ziglar)
    3. The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader (John Maxwell)
    4. Cultivating an Unshakable Character (Jim Rohn)
    5. Making the Shift (Darren Hardy)
    6. 2 Darren Hardy 1-hour workshop speeches
  3. Reading: 12.4 hours (Morning 7 hours, Afternoon 5.4 hours) (14.5 hrs in April)
  4. Blog writing: 18 posts (estimated at 12~20,000 words) (20 published in April)
  5. Transcription: Est. 6,000 words
  6. Design: 1 project (eBook) (1 in April)
  7. Habit: Making a Weekly Schedule & Menu (still working on it – looking to start David Allen’s Getting Things Done in June)


All previous Habits remain intact. New Habit: going for evening walks or going to the nearby school for evening exercise 3-4 times per week.

In May, I slowed down quite a bit because it was a depressing month for me. I merely persevered through most goals – including exercise – and didn’t push myself. I was merely holding on and trying not to break.

In June, I’m interested in advancing in my Korean, getting the eBook as done as possible, starting GTD, and beginning a new exercise program to push for 100 pushups and 50 pull-ups before the summer is out.

Goals for June:

(I will also need to reassess these and do a Quarterly Planning Session after the final Final Test at school.)

  1. Reading: TTMIK’s Iyagi Tuesdays and Thursdays between classes – DO 5
  2. Vocab: Replace Facebook app time with Quizlet app time
  3. Grammar: Daily blog posts + sentences – FINISH THROUGH CHP 16
  4. Speaking: Call my wife from work – in Korean + KIIP class (June 9)
  5. Listening: Mondays – Textbook audio, Wednesdays – TTMIK podcast, Fridays – TOPIK audio
  6. eBook: “Soft launch” on June 9, set “hard launch” date for sometime in July
  7. Podcast: Make a plan, simple script, find audio intro, make a recording schedule for June
  8. EXERCISE: Make & begin a plan to reach 50 consecutive pull-ups, 100 consecutive pushups, 200 consecutive squats, 300 consecutive sit-ups
  9. GTD: Relisten to David Allen’s Getting Things Done, but the folders, start getting organized
  10. Quarterly Planning: Do some of Darren Hardy’s planning worksheets, and reconsider my goals for the following 3 months ~ 3 years

May was definitely about PERSEVERANCE and CHARACTER-BUILDING for me. Things were tough and depressing. Here’s hoping that June can be about HUSTLE.

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